PAST EXHIBIT


Anti-Symbiosis
07.04.2014 - 07.21.2014

Jonas Eslao


 No being is an island. Each species needs another species to survive and preserve the circle of life. In science, we call this “symbiosis”—a natural subsistence mechanism that honors death, parasitism, and hawking, as they nourish the growth and creation of other life forms.
 
Sport hunting is a vain irreverence to this sacred chain of birth and blood for it revels in the murder of animals just for the sake of it. Yet, more and more people indulge in this “recreation”. Jonas Eslao’s new show explores this twisted craze with a series of metamorphic sport hunter portraits that mirrors man’s cryptic debauchery. More than the act of killing itself, Eslao scrutinizes the hunter’s motive (or the lack of it). Why do hunters take pride in killing for self-gratification? Are the heads of beautiful endangered faunas badges of human glory or signs of man’s inborn savagery?
 
Cloaked in what seems to be military combat gears, the hunters in “Flair Game” echo man’s natural instinct for warfare. Is this deplorable or just part of natural selection?—this is the question Eslao visually raises.
 
Eslao leveraged his mastery of biomorphism to show the “side effects” of this dubious leisure. In “Duelist’s Demise”, the hunter is merged into the dead moose he butchered, making it seem like the hunter and the hunted is just one creature. Eslao explained that this monstrous shapeshift reflects an internal mutation.
 
“I wanted to paint a hunter morphed into the animal he just killed, a shooter who have adopted the skin of the beast he slaughtered. I want people to see what becomes of a person who kills animals for sheer entertainment,” he said.
 
But, do hunters transmute, or just go back to man’s original brute state?
 
Intriguingly, Eslao’s use of pastel colors completely betrays the series’ morbid theme, as they resonate a light, playful and alluring vibe. Eslao said that he wanted to depict contrast and irony by choosing dabs of pleasant hues. Eslao’s choice of colors hints at the beauty found in man’s native split-level humanity.
 
More than an album of man’s distorted self-image, Anti-Symbiosis is Jonas Eslao’s subtle advocacy for environment and animal preservation. Whether you’re moved to make a difference after seeing the series or not, is totally up to you.
 
It’s your conscience. It’s your move.

--- Czyka Tumaliuan




ArtinformaLEE
07.04.2014 - 07.21.2014

Romeo Lee


“ His art ignores the body's smooth surface and focuses on its excrescences and its orifices: the gaping mouth, loins and anus. The grotesque body is constantly active, exceeding its margins: a body in the act of becoming It is never finished, never completed: it is continually built, created, and builds and creates another body - Eating, drinking, defecation and other elimination (sweating, blowing of the nose, sneezing), as well as copulation, pregnancy, dismemberment, swallowing up by another body - all these acts are performed on the confines of the body and the outer world, or on the confines of the old and new body. In all events, the beginning and end of life are closely linked and interwoven.”

This is Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin pondering on the literary works of Renaissance scholar Francois Rabelais. He could have also been referring to Romeo Lee’s works. The viscerality in Lee’s works are bodily palpable – menacing tree trunks lashing out a thick red tongue simultaneously forming roots to entrap a man, the veiny innards of an orifice sucking in a figure simultaneously melting in the acid vividness of the dissolving ground into the blob-like figure depicting an excruciating journey into the belly of the beast.

This is a world inhabited by monsters who may or may not have real-life human counterparts from people he encounter everyday drifting from his second-hand clothing jaunts in Recto and Quiapo, to the lair of his fellow mountaineers and adventure seekers in his alma mater, to banquet invitations from a motley of friends from the underground music scene, the art scene, and more recently, the world of showbiz These are propped as either muse or demon caricatures that are humorous jabs at the vain, self-righteousness of the prevailing order.  This world is singularlee radical and totalLee Lee’s, offering a vision of raw truth underneath all its absurdities. 

---Lena Cobangbang




ArtinformaLEE
07.04.2014 - 07.21.2014


“ His art ignores the body's smooth surface and focuses on its excrescences and its orifices: the gaping mouth, loins and anus. The grotesque body is constantly active, exceeding its margins: a body in the act of becoming It is never finished, never completed: it is continually built, created, and builds and creates another body - Eating, drinking, defecation and other elimination (sweating, blowing of the nose, sneezing), as well as copulation, pregnancy, dismemberment, swallowing up by another body - all these acts are performed on the confines of the body and the outer world, or on the confines of the old and new body. In all events, the beginning and end of life are closely linked and interwoven.”

This is Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin pondering on the literary works of Renaissance scholar Francois Rabelais. He could have also been referring to Romeo Lee’s works. The viscerality in Lee’s works are bodily palpable – menacing tree trunks lashing out a thick red tongue simultaneously forming roots to entrap a man, the veiny innards of an orifice sucking in a figure simultaneously melting in the acid vividness of the dissolving ground into the blob-like figure depicting an excruciating journey into the belly of the beast.

This is a world inhabited by monsters who may or may not have real-life human counterparts from people he encounter everyday drifting from his second-hand clothing jaunts in Recto and Quiapo, to the lair of his fellow mountaineers and adventure seekers in his alma mater, to banquet invitations from a motley of friends from the underground music scene, the art scene, and more recently, the world of showbiz These are propped as either muse or demon caricatures that are humorous jabs at the vain, self-righteousness of the prevailing order.  This world is singularlee radical and totalLee Lee’s, offering a vision of raw truth underneath all its absurdities. 

---Lena Cobangbang




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